Access control systems & kits - Expert commentary

Demand Increases For Specialist IT Skills Among Security System Integrators
Demand Increases For Specialist IT Skills Among Security System Integrators

How can security system integrators not just survive but thrive in today’s IT-led market? The key seems to be in training. As increasingly more clients look to integrate access control with IT environments, they want integrators with the specialist skills to achieve this. For integrators that don’t invest in training, the risk is being left behind. Because many security system integrators aren’t providing specialist IT support, manufacturers are now offering services to make implementations and integrations easier. This isn’t a scalable or desirable option for many manufacturers though, they don’t want to become integrators. The result? Manufacturers will be pushed into developing products that can be integrated with IT networks off the shelf. And this isn’t necessarily the best option for end user, manufacturer or integrator. With a growing number of cloud-based security solutions, integrators also face the threat of clients opting for installation-only services. How security system integrators can survive and thrive today It’s not all doom and gloom for security system integrators though. To avoid becoming redundant, or being downgraded to simple access control installers, there’s lots you can do to strengthen your position. Listen carefully Many integrators are reluctant to do this, but it’s a great way to demonstrate the depth of your experience One of the first ways you can distinguish yourself from your competitors is by really listening to what your clients want and need. You can then translate this into a security or access control application tailored carefully to them. Many integrators are reluctant to do this, but it’s a great way to demonstrate the depth of your experience and product knowledge. It’s far superior to carrying out a standard implementation, which can leave clients feeling they’ve not been listened to or given good value. Up your IT knowledge TCP/IP has become the standard for communication between devices and central server applications in access control and security in general. So every technician now needs to know how to connect IP devices to networks and configure them in the central application. This is only the tip of the iceberg though, there’s so much more that integrators now need to be proficient in when it comes to IT. From understanding a client’s WAN, LAN and VPN networks to back-up systems, encryption technologies, key management and transparent communication. It’s also important to know how to integrate applications at server level, whether you’re integrating two or more security systems or a HR database. Most integrators have begun to invest in one or two IT experts, but this usually isn’t enough to meet clients’ needs. To really stay ahead, it’s crucial to invest more heavily in IT training and expertise. Choose your portfolio carefully When considering your portfolio, ensure you check the background of each product’s manufacturer Ideally, your portfolio should be small but rich, which is more difficult than it sounds. Choosing products that will scale easily is complex, and you need to consider the potential for increased functionality or connectivity as well as scalability. When considering your portfolio, make sure you check the background and outlook of each product’s manufacturer. You don’t want to select items that are likely to be discontinued in the near future, which can often happen after a manufacturer is acquired, for example. Get in the cloud In the security market, the mid and low segments are already shifting to cloud-based solutions that need neither integration nor IT skills. This leaves you with opportunities for just installation and maintenance services, where profit opportunities are reduced. An alternative is to begin selling cloud-based security services yourself to help you attract and retain clients for the long-term. Give clients added commercial value As competition increases and budgets shrink, offering added value, to new and existing clients, is a vital way to differentiate your business. This will help you to not just defend against competitors but to grow your business and increase your profitability. Configuring access control reports for clients is just one example. It’s relatively straightforward to do but provides really valuable insight into visitor flow. This can then enable them to, for example, staff reception adequately and provide sufficient catering, which all improves the experience for visitors and employees. Providing this kind of consultative service, instantly pushes you up the value chain. Stay agile and well informed To survive and grow as a security system integrator today, the upshot is that it’s crucial to keep pace with the market’s ever-changing trends, technology and client needs. And, to make sure you’re ready to adapt and give clients the services they want, it’s vital to give your people the in-depth training they need.

Blending Physical Security With Convenience Is No Simple Task
Blending Physical Security With Convenience Is No Simple Task

Back in the 1960s a lead engineer working in conjunction with the United States Navy for Lockheed’s Skunk Works team coined the acronym KISS, which translated to the design principle ‘keep it simple stupid’.  The KISS principle embraces the concept of simplicity, stating that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than geared up to be more complicated. When it comes to physical security systems, this concept can also play a key element in its overall success. Secure work environments For years the tug of war in the security industry has pitted the need for a secure environment against the desire for technology that is convenient for users. However, finding a happy medium between the two has often seemed elusive. I believe you can design and have operational convenience at the same time as achieving high security" Jeff Spivey, a security consultant and the CEO of Security Risk Management, has this to say about it, “If there is an understanding of the security-related risks and their separate and/or collective impact on the organization’s bottom line business goals, a resolution can be reached.” Jeff also does not think that convenience and high security have to be opposing each other. He says, “I believe you can design and have operational convenience at the same time as achieving high security.” Importance of secure access control The premise is that for organizations and spaces to be truly secure, they must be difficult to access. So, by its very nature, access control is designed to be restrictive, allowing only authorized staff and visitors to access a facility or other secured areas inside. This immediately puts convenience at odds with security. Most people will tolerate the restrictive nature of a controlled entrance using badge, card or biometric because they understand the need for security. When that technology gets in the way of staff traversing freely throughout the facility during the course of a business day, or hindering potential visitors or vendors from a positive experience entering the building, they become less tolerant, which often leads to negative feedback to the security staff. Enhancing corporate security Security consultants like Spivey and security directors all stress that understanding the threats and risk levels of an organization will most likely dictate its physical security infrastructure and approach. All the technology in the world is useless if it is not embraced by those who are expected to use it and it doesn’t fit the culture of the organization. Once employees and customers are educated about what security really is, they understand that they're not losing convenience, they're gaining freedom to move safely from point A to point B. Converged data and information shape new access options Migration of physical access control systems to a more network-centric platform is a game-changer for security technologies The migration of physical access control systems to a more network-centric platform has been a game-changer for emerging security technology options. The expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT), Near-Field Communication devices powered by Bluetooth technology, and the explosion of converged information systems and identity management tools that are now driving access control are making it easier than ever before for employees and visitors to apply for clearance, permissions and credentials. Wireless and proximity readers Advancements in high-performance wireless and proximity readers have enhanced the user’s access experience when presenting credentials at an entry and expediting movement throughout a facility. A user is now able to access a secured office from street-level without ever touching a key or card. Using a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone or triggering a facial recognition technology, they enter the building through a security revolving door or turnstile. A total building automation approach adds extra convenience, as well as seamless security, when access technology is integrated into other systems like elevator controls. A total building automation approach adds extra convenience and seamless security How to Meet Security Concerns at the Entry While security managers are charged with providing their facilities the maximum level of security possible, there is always the human element to consider. But does the effort to make people comfortable with their security system ecosystem come at a cost? Does all this convenience and the drive to deliver a positive security experience reduce an organization’s overall levels of security? And if so, how can we continue to deliver the same positive experience including speed of entry – while improving risk mitigation and threat prevention? Door entrances, barriers Users can slip through the door or turnstile barriers while they are still open after a credentialed individual has gone through Let’s examine some of the various types of entrances being used at most facilities and the security properties of each. With some entrance types, there is the possibility for security to fall short of its intended goals in a way that can’t be addressed by access control technology alone. In particular, with many types of doors and barriers, tailgating is possible: users can slip through the door or turnstile barriers while they are still open after a credentialed individual has gone through. To address this, many organizations hire security officers to supervise the entry. While this can help to reduce tailgating, it has been demonstrated that officers are not immune to social engineering and can often be “talked into” letting an unauthorized person into a facility. Deploying video cameras, sensors Some organizations have deployed video surveillance cameras or sensors to help identify tailgaters after the fact or a door left open for longer than rules allow. This approach is not uncommon where facilities have attempted to optimize throughput and maintain a positive experience for staff and visitors. Security staff monitoring the video feeds can alert management so that action can be taken – but this is at best a reactive solution. It does not keep the unauthorized persons from entering, and so is not a totally secure solution. Optical turnstiles, speedgates Security staff should carefully evaluate its facility’s needs and consider the technology that is built into the door itself Security staff should carefully evaluate its facility’s needs and consider the technology that is built into the door itself. Not all security entrances work the same way. And, there will always be a balance between security and convenience – the more secure the entry, the less convenient it is for your personnel and visitors to enter your facility. For example, it takes more time to provide 2-factor authentication and enter through a mantrap portal than to provide only one credential and enter through an optical turnstile or speedgate. Perimeter protection So, it is an important first step to determine what is right at every entrance point within and around the perimeter. Remember that convenience does not equate to throughput. Convenience is the ease and speed of entry experienced by each individual crossing that threshold, while throughput relates to the speed at which many individuals can gain access to the facility. A more convenient entry makes a better first impression on visitors and is good for overall employee morale. Throughput is more functional; employees need to get logged in to begin their workday (and often to clock in to get paid), and they quickly become frustrated and dissatisfied when waiting in a long line to enter or exit the premises. Considering form and function when designing a security entrance can ensure that those requiring both high-security and convenience are appeased.

Home Monitoring At The Edge: Advanced Security In The Hands Of Consumers
Home Monitoring At The Edge: Advanced Security In The Hands Of Consumers

Imagine a home surveillance camera monitoring an elderly parent and anticipating potential concerns while respecting their privacy. Imagine another camera predicting a home burglary based on suspicious behaviors, allowing time to notify the homeowner who can in turn notify the police before the event occurs—or an entire network of cameras working together to keep an eye on neighborhood safety. Artificial Intelligence vision chips A new gen of AI vision chips are pushing advanced capabilities such as behavior analysis and higher-level security There's a new generation of artificial intelligence (AI) vision chips that are pushing advanced capabilities such as behavior analysis and higher-level security to the edge (directly on devices) for a customizable user experience—one that rivals the abilities of the consumer electronics devices we use every day. Once considered nothing more than “the eyes” of a security system, home monitoring cameras of 2020 will leverage AI-vision processors for high-performance computer vision at low power consumption and affordable cost—at the edge—for greater privacy and ease of use as well as to enable behavior analysis for predictive and preemptive monitoring. Advanced home monitoring cameras With this shift, camera makers and home monitoring service providers alike will be able to develop new edge-based use cases for home monitoring and enable consumers to customize devices to meet their individual needs. The result will be increased user engagement with home monitoring devices—mirroring that of cellphones and smart watches and creating an overlap between the home monitoring and consumer electronics markets. A quick step back reminds us that accomplishing these goals would have been cost prohibitive just a couple of years ago. Face recognition, behavior analysis, intelligent analytics, and decision-making at this level were extremely expensive to perform in the cloud. Additionally, the lag time associated with sending data to faraway servers for decoding and then processing made it impossible to achieve real-time results. Cloud-based home security devices The constraints of cloud processing certainly have not held the industry back, however. Home monitoring, a market just seven years young, has become a ubiquitous category of home security and home monitoring devices. Consumers can choose to install a single camera or doorbell that sends alerts to their phone, a family of devices and a monthly manufacturer’s plan, or a high-end professional monitoring solution. While the majority of these devices do indeed rely on the cloud for processing, camera makers have been pushing for edge-based processing since around 2016. For them, the benefit has always been clear: the opportunity to perform intelligent analytics processing in real-time on the device. But until now, the balance between computer vision performance and power consumption was lacking and camera companies weren’t able to make the leap. So instead, they have focused on improving designs and the cloud-centric model has prevailed. Hybrid security systems Even with improvements, false alerts result in unnecessary notifications and video recording Even with improvements, false alerts (like tree branches swaying in the wind or cats walking past a front door) result in unnecessary notifications and video recording— cameras remain active which, in the case of battery powered cameras, means using up valuable battery life. Hybrid models do exist. Typically, they provide rudimentary motion detection on the camera itself and then send video to the cloud for decoding and analysis to suppress false alerts. Hybrids provide higher-level results for things like people and cars, but their approach comes at a cost for both the consumer and the manufacturer. Advanced cloud analytics Advanced cloud analytics are more expensive than newly possible edge-based alternatives, and consumers have to pay for subscriptions. In addition, because of processing delays and other issues, things like rain or lighting changes (or even bugs on the camera) can still trigger unnecessary alerts. And the more alerts a user receives, the more they tend to ignore them—there are simply too many. In fact, it is estimated that users only pay attention to 5% of their notifications. This means that when a package is stolen or a car is burglarized, users often miss the real-time notification—only to find out about the incident after the fact. All of this will soon change with AI-based behavior analysis, predictive security, and real-time meaningful alerts. Predictive monitoring while safeguarding user privacy These days, consumers are putting more emphasis on privacy and have legitimate concerns about being recorded while in their homes. Soon, with AI advancements at the chip level, families will be able to select user apps that provide monitoring without the need to stream video to a company server, or they’ll have access to apps that record activity but obscure faces. Devices will have the ability to only send alerts according to specific criteria. If, for example, an elderly parent being monitored seems particularly unsteady one day or seems especially inactive, an application could alert the responsible family member and suggest that they check in. By analyzing the elderly parent’s behavior, the application could also predict a potential fall and trigger an audio alert for the person and also the family. AI-based behavior analysis Ability to analyze massive amounts of data locally and identify trends is a key advantage of AI at the edge The ability to analyze massive amounts of data locally and identify trends or perform searches is a key advantage of AI at the edge, for both individuals and neighborhoods. For example, an individual might be curious as to what animal is wreaking havoc in their backyard every night. In this case, they could download a “small animal detector” app to their camera which would trigger an alert when a critter enters their yard. The animal could be scared off via an alarm and—armed with video proof—animal control would have useful data for setting a trap. Edge cameras A newly emerging category of “neighborhood watch” applications is already connecting neighbors for significantly improved monitoring and safety. As edge cameras become more commonplace, this category will become increasingly effective. The idea is that if, for example, one neighbor captures a package thief, and then the entire network of neighbors will receive a notification and a synopsis video showing the theft. Or if, say, there is a rash of car break-ins and one neighbor captures video of a red sedan casing their home around the time of a recent incident, an AI vision-based camera could be queried for helpful information: Residential monitoring and security The camera could be asked for a summary of the dates and times that it has recorded that particular red car. A case could be made if incident times match those of the vehicle’s recent appearances in the neighborhood. Even better, if that particular red car was to reappear and seems (by AI behavior analysis) to be suspicious, alerts could be sent proactively to networked residents and police could be notified immediately. Home monitoring in 2020 will bring positive change for users when it comes to monitoring and security, but it will also bring some fun. Consumers will, for example, be able to download apps that do things like monitor pet activity. They might query their device for a summary of their pet’s “unusual activity” and then use those clips to create cute, shareable videos. Who doesn’t love a video of a dog dragging a toilet paper roll around the house? AI at the Edge for home access control Home access control via biometrics is one of many new edge-based use cases that will bring convenience to home monitoring Home access control via biometrics is one of many new edge-based use cases that will bring convenience to home monitoring, and it’s an application that is expected to take off soon. With smart biometrics, cameras will be able to recognize residents and then unlock their smart front door locks automatically if desired, eliminating the need for keys. And if, for example, an unauthorized person tries to trick the system by presenting a photograph of a registered family member’s face, the camera could use “3D liveness detection” to spot the fake and deny access. With these and other advances, professional monitoring service providers will have the opportunity to bring a new generation of access control panels to market. Leveraging computer vision and deep neural networks Ultimately, what camera makers strive for is customer engagement and customer loyalty. These new use cases—thanks to AI at the edge—will make home monitoring devices more useful and more engaging to consumers. Leveraging computer vision and deep neural networks, new cameras will be able to filter out and block false alerts, predict incidents, and send real-time notifications only when there is something that the consumer is truly interested in seeing. AI and computer vision at the edge will enable a new generation of cameras that provide not only a higher level of security but that will fundamentally change the way consumers rely on and interact with their home monitoring devices.

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Mission 500 Announces A Security 5k/2k Fundraiser At ISC West 2020
Mission 500 Announces A Security 5k/2k Fundraiser At ISC West 2020

Mission 500 is excited to announce this year’s Security 5k/2k fundraiser at ISC West 2020 will be held on Thursday, March 19th. The event will be located at 2601 East Sunset Road, in Las Vegas, Nevada and will benefit children and families in need across the United States. Registrations to participate in this year’s event are open. Those who are unable to attend or participate in the physical event can sign up and donate as a virtual runner or walker. Wide array of new security industry participants “2020 marks our eleventh year hosting the Security 5k/2k and we want to thank all of the previous participants and sponsors who have made the last ten years a tremendous success,” said Tom Nolan, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Mission 500. We can’t wait for this year’s event and hope to meet a wide array of new security industry participants" “We can’t wait for this year’s event and hope to meet a wide array of new security industry participants, reconnect with prior ones, and have a great time while supporting this worthwhile cause.” Participants in the Mission 500 Security 5k/2k will be awarded for their performance across various age categories, as well as those companies and individuals who led the fundraising effort. Humanitarian awards ceremony Those who succeed in raising $500 or more will automatically be enrolled in Mission 500’s 500 Club and receive a jacket as recognition for their efforts. The Security 5k/2k Reception and Mission 500’s CSR and Humanitarian Awards Ceremony will take place Thursday afternoon after the race (time and location to be announced). Confirmed charter sponsors include Alarm.com, Altronix Corporation, Axis Communications, Bosch Security Systems, BRINKS Home Security, CMAC, COPS Monitoring, Dahua Technology, DMP, Freeman, Galaxy Control Systems, HID Global, Hikvision, LENSEC, LRG Marketing Communications, Milestone Systems, Napco Starlink, PSA Security Network, Safety Technology International, Inc., and ZKTeco USA. The race is operated by Las Vegas Running Company, a locally based race management company.

ONVIF Reflects On 2019 Activities And Plans For New Profile Development In Annual Meeting
ONVIF Reflects On 2019 Activities And Plans For New Profile Development In Annual Meeting

ONVIF, a global standardization initiative for IP-based physical security products, held its annual membership meeting in November, providing ONVIF members with an overview of important activities of 2019 and plans for the year ahead. Attendees heard presentations on the growth of ONVIF, as well as plans for new profile development. ONVIF Chairman Per Björkdahl highlighted the forum’s achievements over the past year, particularly the market’s continued support for the profile concept, with the number of conformant products surpassing 13,000 earlier this year. With six profiles to choose from and additional ones in development, ONVIF profiles have increasingly been included in various bid and specification processes in projects around the world, making it the de-facto interface in the industry. Björkdahl also noted the continued involvement of ONVIF in the International Electrotechnical Commission’s work on international standardization, in addition to new proposals for cloud connectivity and interoperability between multiple systems. Video Enhancement Working Group The overarching goal of ONVIF is to provide to the market a single interface through which every system can operate As is tradition, ONVIF recognized the contributions of multiple individuals from various ONVIF committees. Steve Wolf, who served on several ONVIF committees on behalf of Pelco, received the ONVIF Service Award, which acknowledges individuals who have provided a long-term commitment to the organization. While serving on the Technical Committee, Wolf led the Security Working Group, and was also an active participant in the Video Enhancement Working Group, contributing to a number of improvements in how ONVIF approaches video. Andreas Schneider of Sony received the ONVIF Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to ONVIF over many years in multiple functions. Schneider’s long-term service to the Technical Services Committee has positioned him as a major facilitator of the ONVIF organization, with contributions to multiple ONVIF profiles. Physical access control standards “The overarching goal of ONVIF is to provide to the market a single interface through which every system can operate,” said Björkdahl. “Our honorees have shown significant and long-term commitment to our organization, in turn making this goal a reality one profile at a time. We thank both of our recipients for their innovation, hard work and service.” ONVIF Technical Committee Chairman, Hans Busch of Bosch, spoke to members about the specification development roadmap, which highlights plans for future profile development, as well as the continued alignment to the standardization activities within the IEC TC 79 working groups for video surveillance and physical access control standards. Specifically, Busch covered what specifications are being examined for future profiles, and how they complement and further enhance existing ONVIF profiles. IP-based physical security products ONVIF continues to work with its members to expand the number of IP interoperability solutionsAs chair of the Technical Services Committee, Sony’s Schneider gave an overview of the committee’s work on new and existing profiles, client and device test tools, updates to the conformance process and tools, and the Developers’ Plugfest. Shi-lin Chan of Axis Communications, who serves as chair of the ONVIF Communication Committee, provided a recap of ONVIF communication efforts in 2019, and discussed ONVIF’s plans for the launch of a Mandarin website later this year. Founded in 2008, ONVIF is a well-recognized industry forum driving interoperability for IP-based physical security products. The organization has a global member base of established camera, video management system and access control companies and more than 13,000 profile conformant products. IP interoperability solutions ONVIF offers Profile S for streaming video; Profile G for recording and storage; Profile C for physical access control; Profile Q for improved out-of-the-box functionality, Profile A for broader access control configuration and Profile T for advanced streaming. ONVIF continues to work with its members to expand the number of IP interoperability solutions ONVIF conformant products can provide.

Open Security & Safety Alliance Celebrates Its 1st Anniversary In The Security Industry
Open Security & Safety Alliance Celebrates Its 1st Anniversary In The Security Industry

The Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA), an industry body comprised of leaders, influencers and innovative organizations from all facets within the security, safety and building automation space, celebrates its one-year anniversary. Within its first 12 months, OSSA attracted 30+ members ranging from device manufacturers, software developers and system integrators to distributors and system on a chip (SoC) companies – helping lay the groundwork for improved security, safety, building automation and business intelligence solutions. Open security and safety ecosystem We’re truly pleased at the progress achieved in just our first year by establishing an open security and safety ecosystem" “Through OSSA, we have competing and complementary institutions reaching across aisles and stepping outside of their brands to work together to push our whole industry into a new, more prosperous and efficient direction,” said Johan Jubbega, President, Open Security & Safety Alliance. “We’re truly pleased at the progress achieved in just our first year by establishing an open security and safety ecosystem comprised of 30+ renown companies, and having a market-changing digital marketplace and first commercially available video security camera offerings underway for year two as the Alliance continues to provide guidance and interpretation of common standards and specifications to promote more intelligent, productive solutions for users.” Operation and maintenance of products Currently, security and safety solutions are fragmented and there is no collaborative approach to systems working together for bigger-picture success. Large amounts of data are left untapped in siloed systems that through cooperation can instead be utilized for better living, safety and security purposes. OSSA’s mission is to work with market players to all start from the same ‘recipe’ when it comes to the development, deployment, operation and maintenance of products, software and services. The Alliance’s vision is that the majority of the security and safety industry works with a common, vendor-agnostic operating system (OS) and IoT infrastructure – and agrees to implement or adhere to common approaches defined for common challenges like data security, privacy, product performance and easy consumption of data across multiple solutions. Collaborative digital marketplace They also started to define the common approaches and establishment of a shared IoT infrastructure This will substantially fuel usability and trust when it comes to security and safety solutions that are built on the foundations set forth by OSSA. From there, companies can differentiate through apps by way of a collaborative digital marketplace – similar to how we all access/download/use applications between an app store and our smart phones and other digital devices.   Already within its first year, OSSA member companies created the first common Technology Stack specification including the definition of a common operating system for video security devices. They also started to define the common approaches and establishment of a shared IoT infrastructure, including a digital marketplace. This framework allows the trapped – and mostly unused – data captured by any brand of device to be unleashed and available for good purpose. It also reduces friction when conceiving, deploying and maintaining security and safety devices, systems and settings and inspires innovation by opening the doors to data interpretation and possibilities. This platform revolution that OSSA envisions will benefit everyone involved. Significant outputs from Alliance workgroups Significant outputs from Alliance workgroups over the past 12 months include: Documentation of a common Technology Stack including the definition of a common vendor-agnostic OS. First description of a common market approach to data security and privacy. OSSA member Security and Safety Things GmbH (SAST) realized a first version of its OS as set forth in the common Technology Stack defined by OSSA – enabling the creation of prototype cameras. Together with SAST’s first open app store for security cameras, various innovative applications were showcased this year from ISC West 2019, IFSEC 2019 and GSX 2019. The commercial launch of the platform is planned for Q1 2020. OSSA members fulfilled their first prototype cameras based on the commonly defined Technology Stack and OS, and showcased them throughout 2019 at ISC West, IFSEC and last week from GSX. Change for the betterment of the industry The Open Security & Safety Alliance’s five founding companies – Bosch Building Technologies, Hanwha Techwin, Milestone Systems, Pelco™ and VIVOTEK Inc – are joined by 25+ other inventive international players that currently comprise the OSSA member roster. The Alliance is designed to include everyone and offers membership levels to meet the needs of companies big or small. Benefits of joining OSSA include access to the Alliance framework and the ability to connect, discuss, influence and collaborate with other Alliance members to steer change for the betterment of the industry.